Do you already keep a changelog?

A changelog is a file that contains a manually maintained, chronologically sorted list of all significant changes implemented between individual releases or versions of a project. Programmers, for example, use changelogs to document changes to their program code.

But you do not have to be a programmer to use such a changelog as a useful productivity tool. Keep changelogs for your own activities and encourage your team members to document important project changes and findings in a changelog!

# What is the purpose of a changelog?

A changelog is intended to make it easier for users and project managers to see especially noteworthy changes made between releases or versions of a project.

  • This helps to make the development of a project transparent, including the reasons for certain changes.
  • It helps with the own review.
  • It supports the training of new team members.
  • And it is an important knowledge repository to reduce duplicate work and dead ends in development.

Changelogs are suitable for (private) one-person projects that either extend over a longer period of time or occur regularly, as well as for professional projects of both individuals and teams.

# Who should use a changelog?

Project managers and team members as well as outsiders can use a changelog to track the progress and development of a project in a timely manner.

# What does a changelog look like?

In the simplest case, a changelog is a simple text file in which all important project adjustments are listed in reverse chronological order (latest changes are at the top) with date, action and reason for this action. For team projects the entries should also include the name or abbreviation of the responsible team member.

The changes can also be assigned keywords so that the cause of the change can be identified at a glance. Software programmers mainly use the following types of changes:

  • Added for new features
  • Changed for changes to existing functionality
  • Deprecated for features that will be removed in future versions
  • Removed for deprecated features that were removed in this version
  • Fixed for all bug fixes
  • Security, to prompt users to update in case of closed security holes

Of course, the changelog can also be created simply by hand in your own notebook or, for example, as an attachment in the CRM system if the project has a strong customer reference.

# What should be considered when keeping a changelog as a non-programmer?

  • The most important thing is that the changelog is maintained regularly, covers all important project adjustments, but at the same time does not go into too much detail. The changelog should provide an overview of project development, not degenerate into a time sheet.
  • It is just as important to understand changelogs as a knowledge repository and to access them in order to inform oneself (both for new, similarly structured projects and for the continuation of the existing one) about previous pitfalls and best practices.
  • The changelog is thus also a very high-level problem-solving documentation: It is not the goal of the changelog to document the exact steps of the solution, but the problems found and the solutions themselves.

Try it out and create a changelog with our changelog tool.

by marco